The Appointment Of Latheefa Koya To MACC

I note the recent appointment of Latheefa Koya as Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Latheefa, is both a prominent lawyer and human rights activist. Besides other major cases, she was part of the legal team which represented me in my trials related to the Peaceful Assembly Act—for which I am of course grateful.

Her appointment, however, has given rise to questions which need to be urgently addressed.

Latheefa was, until very recently, a member of KEADILAN. While she has resigned from the party, she did so after the fact of her appointment.

Hence, concerns over her impartiality as head of the MACC—which is an increasingly and especially important public institution in the national reform process—cannot be dismissed.

More importantly however, the manner of her appointment, which, again going by media reports, was decided upon by the Prime Minister alone, goes against the promises Pakatan Harapan made in its last General Elections manifesto.

The 14th Promise of the Buku Harapan clearly states that under a Pakatan Harapan government, the: “MACC will report directly to Parliament, rather than to the Prime Minister. To ensure effective check and balance, the number of MACC Commissioners will be increased and there will be a quota for civil society. One of the Commissioners will become Chairman of MACC, and all Commissioners will have security of tenure.

Appointment of these Commissioners must be validated democratically by Parliament.”

It is true that the relevant amendments to the laws have not been made to provide for these pledges, including for the validation of the Commissioners by Parliament.

However, the appointment ought to have been referred to the Major Public Appointments Committee anyway, to show, if nothing else, that the Pakatan Harapan Federal Government intends to keep its promises.

We cannot blame voters for being cynical or sceptical about our attempts to govern if we cannot deliver on such simple promises.

This has nothing to do with the new Chair’s qualifications or her political preferences when she was a member of the party.

One is sure, and the public has the right to expect, that she will perform her duties without fear or favour.

However, the manner of her appointment is cause for concern as it gives rise to questions over the government’s commitment to the cause of reform.

We were elected on a platform of bold institutional and economic reform.

Our seeming lack of progress on both these fronts is highly worrying.

The Pakatan Harapan federal government must take cognisance of this if it wishes to retain the support of the Malaysian people moving forward, and most importantly, to avoid the mistakes of the past.


Malaysia-Singapore Bilateral Issues

A number of bilateral issues have recently arisen between Malaysia and Singapore. These include the Seletar Airport’s Instrument Landing System (ILS) and ILS Approach Procedures as well as various outstanding maritime boundary delimitation issues.

Malaysia’s action in extending the Johor Bahru port limits is well within our rights as a sovereign nation and under international law.

Malaysia of course wants good relations with Singapore and everything must be done to ensure an amicable solution to these as well as other bilateral issues.

However, Singapore needs to respect Malaysia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in order for this to happen.

Cooler heads must prevail. At the same time, mutual trust and respect are essential for our two countries to be able to move forward together.


Setiawangsa Agenda: DBKL Reform

DBKL reform is a central part of my agenda for Setiawangsa.

The Selamatkan KL NGO has voiced out the need to gazette the KL 2020 City Plan and I am in full support of this in order to mitigate the problem of lack of greenery and planning in Kuala Lumpur. Pakatan Harapan legislators have been in full support of the effort.

Bukit Dinding and Taman Tiara Titiwangsa, both of which are within the Setiawangsa parliamentary constituency are areas that have been impacted by the issue, as there is excessive development. Often, the interests of developers are prioritised at the expense of the residents.

This has led to local residents voicing out and demanding change. Relative to other states, the problem in the Federal Territory is more profound as there is a democratic deficit. In the Federal Territory, the rakyat do not have the right to vote for a local elected authority.

In fact, the majority of Kuala Lumpur has voted for change since 2008. However, because there is no local elected authority, the people of Kuala Lumpur do not have the privilege of enjoying policy changes like the people in neighbouring Selangor.

Looking at other examples, Canberra is administered through the Australian Capital Territory. Washington DC is administered by the District of Columbia. London is administered by the Greater London Authority. Jakarta is at par with other provinces in Indonesia. Each of these cities have elections to choose their administrators, not just send legislators at the national level.

It is pitiful that the wellbeing of the people in Kuala Lumpur is not being prioritised. I will certainly champion DBKL reform in line with Pakatan Harapan’s aspirations to provide better living standards and greater transparency in governance.

Pakatan Harapan Youth Concerned With Problems Faced By Malaysians Overseas To Vote

We are deeply concerned over the problems that Malaysians overseas are allegedly facing in casting their postal votes.

As reported by the Global Bersih chapters in France, Geneva, Germany, Netherlands and Scotland, the Elections Commission has announced that ballot papers will be sent out to postal voters two days after Nomination Day, i.e. 28 April.

This will give voters six working days for Pos Malaysia to get the ballots to the overseas voters and for the latter to send their ballots back. This will likely be too short a period, as Global Bersih has estimated that delivery times from Malaysia to certain European countries can take as many as 3-6 days.

Global Bersih has also claimed that Malaysian voters in Europe will have to pay for international courier services, which it estimates could cost up to EUR73-91 (RM349-435).

This is above and beyond the fact that Malaysians in Singapore, southern Thailand, Brunei and Kalimantan have not been allowed to give postal votes.

These restrictions could disenfranchise thousands of voters and surely damages the democratic nature of our elections.

The EC must provide an easier, cheaper and more efficient way for Malaysians abroad to vote to ensure that all of our citizens who are eligible to do so are able to vote.

Keadilan Youth welcomes formation of Pakatan Harapan

KEADILAN Youth welcomes the announcement by the leadership of KEADILAN, DAP and AMANAH on the formation of a new opposition coalition, Pakatan Harapan.

We believe that this is the best framework for the various parties moving forward.

The most crucial thing we need now is unity.

“Unity” in this sense goes far beyond simply agreeing to hold the various state governments we are administering together, or to avoid contesting the same seats in elections, although those things are important.

Rather, it also means developing, promoting as well as pursuing an ideologically coherent agenda that all Malaysians can get behind.

We must agree on how we are going to bring these things about.

The lack of unity has hurt our parties.

It has left us weak even in the face of all the scandals and divisions in the ruling coalition.

We ought to be doing better.

The people of Malaysia deserve better from us.

The 5.6 million Malaysians who voted for us – the majority in the last General Elections – are expecting us to show leadership.

This will not be possible if we are more interested in fighting ourselves rather than the UMNO-BN administration.

All Malaysians are hurting due to the failures and mismanagement of this current government.

They will not back us if we cannot prove that we can deliver something beyond more of the same.

We cannot expect to hold on to the states we govern, much less take over Putrajaya, if we cannot deliver to the voters a vision to take our country forward.

The people of Malaysia are looking to us to lead them.

We must move on and move forward.